If you care about freedom of speech, civil liberties, activism, the right to call an officer of the law a name unbecoming of his mother (not that you should do such a thing), or think that the LGBTQ community deserves the same basic rights as anyone else, then you may have heard of Ray Hill.  This is one of a few recordings we did.  This week Ray talks about activism and ways we can get involved in making Houston a better place to live.  Also discussed, is his experience leaving a career as an evangelist (a topic covered more in a future episode), and coming out of the closet as a gay man who would later become an important part of Houston’s LGBTQ community.

Soon we will put up Ray’s story of being a Christian evangelist and what led him to leave that profession.  Ray Hill is a treasure and I’m lucky to have had him as a guest.

If you have not I have his CV attached at the end of this post:  Sorry for the length but it is worth the read to understand just how much of an honor it is to have him in Houston and as my guest.

 

Seventy-six year old native Houstonian. Graduated from Galena Park Public Schools; Attended Steven F Austin State University, University of Houston, Tulane University, New Orleans, no degrees. Came out as a gay man to my family and at Galena Park High School in 1958.

Co-founder and President of Promethean Society (Houston’s first gay/lesbian organization (1967-1969); Co-founder (1968), former Board Member and former General Manager (1980-1981) of Pacifica Radio, KPFT-FM; Co-founder, Executive Director Houston Human Rights League (1976-1986); Co-founder (1975), Charter Member on Resurrection MCC (1975); Past President (1989) of Houston Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Political Caucus; Winner of landmark First Amendment US Supreme Court Case Houston v Hill 107 S.Ct 2502, 1987); Co-founder/organizer (1976), Past Chair (1984-1985) of Houston Lesbian Gay Pride Week, Pride Parade Grand Marshall (1981); Convener and Co-Chair (with Jenny Apuzo) of Houston Town Meeting I; Co-founder of Montrose Counseling Center (now Montrose Center) 1978; Cofounder on Montrose Clinic (now Legacy Health Services) 1978 Former Chair (1984-1986) of Montrose Activity Center; Chair of Executive and Coordinating Committees for the First March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, 1979; Founder and original producer and host (1975-1980) of Wilde N Stein (one of the first regularly scheduled gay/lesbian radio shows in the country and the only one in the South in the 1970’s); Cofounder Kaposi’s Sarcoma Foundation (1980, became KS/AIDS Foundation, is now AIDS Foundation Houston); Convict (1970-1975) Texas Prison System; Founder and Executive Director of First Amendment Lobby of Texas (1982-1997); Author of first “Safe Sex Pamphlet” in the country to help prevent the spread of HIV, published by Citizens for Human Equality CHE, Houston, 1982; Contributor to the first three International Conferences on Gender Law and Employment; Author of Model Transgender Policy for Jails and Prisons; Founder/producer/host of Prison Show (the only show of its kind in the US) 1980 to 2012 (continues in retired status); Former board member of Texas C.U.R.E. (Prison reform group) 1986- 1989; Former member of Houston AIDS Prevention Community Planning Group representing incarcerated populations 2000-2006; 2012 to Present Member of Houston Media Source Board (President since 1014) Winner of four Federal suits against the city of Houston for police abuses including the previously mentioned Supreme Court decision; a challenge to a city ordinance requiring people to document their identity on demand of a police officer (the ordinance was removed as a result of my case); a challenge to a city ordinance “blocking the sidewalk (the ordinance was removed as a result of my case); and two cases challenging the city ordinance criminalizing the interruption of a police officer (the first case resulted in the rewriting of the ordinance and the second (the Supreme Court decision eliminated both the ordinance and the state law). Helped with the strategy on Lawrence v Texas.

Awarded: 1999 First Amendment Award by Houston Trial Lawyers Foundation; The 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award from The Unity Committee (several organizations supporting equality for transgendered people); The 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Stonewall Lawyers Association; Lifetime Achievement Award from ACLU, Texas 2005, Trailblazer Award from SCALE, 2006 (HIV and AIDS stakeholder organizations); The John P. McGovern Award for 2008 by University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston; Amicus Achievement Grant, South Texas Collage of Law, 2010; 2014 Heritage Award from Houston Pride, Inc.. 2014 FACE Awards: Gay Male Activist of the Year and Community Hero of the Year., 2015 Democrat Party of Harris County: Living Legend Award, Montrose Center 2015 Community Visionary Award. Writer/performer of Ray Hill, The Prison Years (Best One Character Show1997, The Houston Press) at Actor’s Workshop, The Little Room Downstairs and Biba’s One’s A Meal, 20 performance run, Printed script available. Writer/performer of Ray Hill & The Sex Police at Biba’s One’s A Meal, 11 performance run; Ray Hill In Love, Valentine’s day 2000 at Stages Repertory Theater; Outlaw, Queer Like Ray Hill at Ashland Street Theater, 14 performances; A Stroll Through Houston Gay History with Ray Hill at Gay and Lesbian Community Center, June 18, 2001; Ray Hill, The Prison Years reworked and presented at The Philly Fringe 2005, receiving critical acclaim. Subject of three documentaries: Citizen Provocateur. Ray Hill’s Texas Prison Show, 2007, directed by Brian Huberman, Chair Rice University Film Department, Produced by Matt Frondorf ; The Trouble With Ray, currently in production, Directed by Travis Johns, Produced by Jarrod Guillette; and The Guy With The Knife, 2015, Produced and directed by Alison Armstrong.